Backyard Birds

Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)

The Eurasian Jays (Garrulus glandarius) occur over a vast region from Western Europe and north-west Africa to the eastern seaboard of Asia and down into south-east Asia.

Across its vast range, several very distinct racial forms of jays have evolved to look very different from each other, especially when forms at the extremes of its range are compared.


A member of the widespread jay group, and about the size of the Jackdaw, it inhabits mixed woodland, particularly with oaks, and is a habitual acorn hoarder. In recent years, the bird has begun to migrate into urban areas, possibly as a result of continued erosion of its woodland habitat.

Diet / Feeding

Feeding in both trees and on the ground, it takes a wide range of invertebrates, including many pest insects, acorns (oak seeds, which it buries for use during winter), beech mast and other seeds, fruits such as blackberries, rowan berries, etc., young birds, mice, small reptiles and small snakes.

Nesting / Breeding

It nests in trees or large shrubs laying usually 4–6 eggs that hatch after 16–19 days and are fledged generally after 21–23 days. Both sexes typically feed the young.



Calls / Vocalizations

Its usual call is the alarm call which is a harsh, rasping screech and is used upon sighting various predatory animals.

The Eurasian Jays Jay is well known for its mimicry, often sounding so like a different species that it is virtually impossible to distinguish its true identity unless the Jay is seen.

It will even imitate the sound of the bird it is attacking, such as a Tawny Owl, which it does mercilessly if attacking during the day. However, the Jay is a potential prey item for owls at night.

A tame jay can mimic a wide range of mechanical sounds, bird songs as well and human speech.

Jay InformationPhotos of Different Jay Species for Identification


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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